Benedict Cumberbatch went all out to play Phil Burbank in his new film “The Power of the Dog”.
Set in 1925, the flick follows charismatic and mean-spirited rancher Burbank, who torments his brother’s (Jesse Plemons) new wife Rose (Kirsten Dunst) and her son Peter (Kodi Smit-McPhee). When he appears to take the boy under his wing, those around him question whether he is capable of changing his ways.
The actor told Esquire magazine that he even didn’t wash himself properly because he wanted to be just like his character.
“I wanted that layer of stink on me. I wanted people in the room to know what I smelled like. It was hard, though. It wasn’t just in rehearsals.
“I was going out to eat and meet friends of Jane [Campion, the film’s director] and stuff. I was a bit embarrassed by the cleaner, in the place I was living.”
The star added of staying in character: “If someone forgot, on the first day, and called me Benedict, I wouldn’t move.”
Cumberbatch, who gave up smoking in 2014, also smoked a lot of cigarettes, which were “perfectly rolled with one hand,” as referenced in Thomas Savage’s western novel on which the film is based.
“That was really hard,” Cumberbatch told the mag. “Filterless rollies, just take after take after take. I gave myself nicotine poisoning three times. When you have to smoke a lot, it genuinely is horrible.”
Despite nailing the character, there was one thing Cumberbatch wishes he was better at.
“I really wanted to become world class at the banjo,” he explained. “And I’m very much not. I’m very far off.”